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Business Change Management

Business Change Management

Andrea Simon

Andrea (Andi) Simon, Ph.D., principal and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), has over 20 years’ experience as a sr. executive in the financial services and healthcare industries. A Blue Ocean Strategy® practitioner and trained in Innovation Games®, Andi brings the unique perspective of anthropology to businesses and organizations that need to “see, feel and think” in new ways.
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Recent Posts

Can You See It? The Coming of Age of Corporate Anthropology Is Here.

On Aug 28, 2017 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Corporate Anthropology

   

This truly is the Coming of Age of Corporate Anthropology. All around us, the number of companies that are employing anthropologists is soaring, as are those that are engaging firms to conduct ethnographic or observational research for them. Another bellwether is Google search, where interest in anthropology-trained culture change experts increased dramatically in 2017, as I report in my recent article in Huffington Post. 

I saw this “coming of age of anthropology” not long ago when I spoke for the second year at the Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) Roundtable. Each June, the MCA gathers with its fifteen independent college members and 120 businesses from across Michigan and beyond to think creatively about how higher education needs to change in order to better serve its students, its communities and the businesses and industries that need its talent. In order to provide industry with the new types of employees it needs, colleges and universities need to change their cultures, their purposes and their methods so that their graduates can find good jobs in today’s market and become valuable elements of fast-changing companies. 

Thanks to the great leadership of Bob Bartlett and Karen Mulligan, the MCA convened a number of lecturers who spoke at length about anthropology, sharing how its methods, theory and tools added significant value to their businesses and why other companies should embrace anthropology as well. 

What is corporate anthropology? 

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How Anthropology Can Help Your Business Soar

On Aug 26, 2017 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Corporate Anthropology, anthropology

 

The reason I love anthropology is because it teaches you to see, feel and think in new ways. These days, it’s no longer the strongest and smartest who will survive  it’s the ones who are the most adaptive. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the business world, as I describe in a recent article I wrote for Quick Base, which you can read here.

Corporate anthropologists, like myself, see the things that are really happening out there in the field, not what business leaders think is going on. We look for the deeper meaning in the interactions that make up people’s lives and the objects they surround themselves with. 

How corporate anthropology can help companies be more competitive

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Change: Are You Going To Avoid It Or Embrace It?

On Aug 25, 2017 8:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Change Management, Trends From The Trenches, Culture Change

As a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, I work with organizations that need or want to change. I'm an observer, constantly watching for emerging “trends from the trenches,” and I like to share them so that others too can see what's coming.

As I report in my recent article for Forbes.com, one of the biggest trends I'm noticing as I travel around the country is how business leaders are really struggling with today's breakneck pace of change. (You can read the article here.) Rather than embracing change and its possibilities for innovation and growth, they’re fleeing from it. Not good!

The trends are obvious but CEOs don't want to see them

Often, the biggest challenge for people is how to recognize what's happening right in front of them. But for today's CEOs, this is particularly scary because the degree of change is so greatthreatening their business models, fundamental beliefs and long-held strategies—that they feel lost, like the proverbial deer in headlights. But for those leaders who are willing to adapt and change with the times, new levels of productivity await them.

5 trends that today's business leaders should pay attention to:

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Why Change Is So Scary—And Why That Dooms Businesses To Fail

On Aug 23, 2017 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Igniting Change, Culture Change

 

A former client of ours in the construction industry contacted us recently, saying: “We’re stuck. Sales are flat, the competition is killing us, and my sales team doesn't know what to do. Can you help?”

As in so many cases after 2008’s Great Recession, this client's corporate division, once an industry leader, was experiencing zero growth, using the same outmoded tactics to keep factories running while wishing for the old world order to return.

Guess what? Like coal, the old days are not coming back. Our former client's business has now reached a dangerous tipping point that could put the company's entire future at risk. His only hope is to embrace change, and fast.

Why do businesses get “stuck?”

One of the main reasons why companies (or individuals, for that matter) get stuck is because they fear change. Driven by well-honed habits, they are more comfortable doing things the way they've always done them. They resist embracing the unknown. Think of it in terms of a play. People like performing the script they know; when given a different script with new roles to play and new lines to learn, they tend to balk.

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Why Women CEOs Are So Different And So Successful

On Aug 17, 2017 2:41:58 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: women in business, women entrepreneurs

What's my message to women entrepreneurs? You've come a long way, baby, but don't stop now because (male-oriented) corporate America is beginning to notice.

As proof, just look at the numbers:

  • Women now make up 40% of new entrepreneurs in the U.S.
  • In the last nine years, 2007 to 2016, there has been a 45% rise in women entrepreneurs (compared with a 9% increase in all entrepreneurs)
  • More than 11 million businesses in the U.S. are woman-owned, employing nearly 9 million people and generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue

Clearly, women are not just diving into business, they're doing it very successfully, as I discuss in my recent article for American Marketing Association. (Read it here.)

So how do successful women entrepreneurs do it? What's their secret sauce?

When women get the chance to build companies, they build them differently than their male counterparts. Women tend to intentionally create cultures that encourage collaboration, team-building and innovative thinking, without taking their eyes off bottom line results.

Also, when women scale a business, they focus on long-term sustainability, not just rapid growth. This focus informs marketing strategies and corporate priorities, and is an oft-repeated refrain we are hearing at SAMC in our interviews with women CEOs. 

5 important themes crucial to women-owned success strategies 

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: The 5 Most Important Rules of Lying

On Jul 7, 2017 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: culture

Like it or not, as humans, we are born to lie. The desire to control information and how it is shared is part of who we are and how we live our lives. In fact, our brains are designed to lie—sort of.

Our understanding of "reality" is to a large extent shaped by how our family and friends present it to us as we're growing up, something that I explain in more depth in my recent article for nydailynews.com, which you can read here.

Basically, as we get older, we build a community around ourselves containing those with whom we share the same core values, beliefs and ways of doing things—also known as culture. Our brains then sort everything from then on through a filter that only "sees" what fits that reality. 

Do we lie occasionally or all the time?

Unfortunately, pretty much all the time.

As proof, a well-known study about deception and lying found that most people lie once or twice a day. Over the course of a week, both men and women lie approximately one-fifth of the time and deceive about 30% of those with whom they interact one-on-one. And according to the study, college students lie to their mothers in 50% of their conversations. That's half of the time!

If you think these "lying" statistics don't apply to you, think again. 

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Like Uber, Your Company’s Culture Could Bring You Down.

On Jun 27, 2017 12:20:07 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Culture Change, Corporate Culture

What is your company culture? As an insider, are you sure you can really "see" what's going on, the good the bad and the ugly? Or like Uber's Travis Kalanick, are you in danger of being pushed out because of a systemically toxic environment? My recent article in Huffington Post explains how you can avoid Uber's mess by evaluating, and fixing, your culture before it's too late. Read it below or by clicking here.

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Could Your Company’s Culture Bring You Down? 
What we should learn from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s downfall: Your company’s culture can bring you down. 

Now that the curtain has been pulled back on Uber’s disgustingly toxic culture, we’re learning that it was not just one problem but a whole host of them that, taken together, led to CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation. And just like that, what was once the world’s most valuable private company has been plunged into total disarray.
 
If you’ve been following the story, it’s been argued that what started the ball rolling was an Uber site reliability engineer (SRE) named Susan Fowler going public about being sexually harassed at work by her manager, reporting it to company officials (repeatedly) and getting nowhere.
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5 Ways To Make Your Team Awesome Agents Of Change

On Jun 9, 2017 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Healthcare, Managing change

Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC) does a lot of work with healthcare clients, and over the years, we've become adept at spotting trends while we're out in the field. What we've been noticing lately is something that, frankly, we find rather troubling.

What we're hearing firsthand from a number of healthcare leaders is that these fast-changing times are posing serious challenges for them. As I explain in my recent article in Hospital Impact, CEOs are feeling enormous pressure to reduce costs, improve quality, change care delivery, reduce readmissions, focus on the population’s health, concentrate on the individual’s utilization, and on and on. (You can read the article here.)

Are you feeling intense pressure to change, too?

As I say in my article: "It doesn’t matter if it is a hospital or a multi-specialty group of doctors joining a new healthcare system. The demands upon leaders and staff to change is proving overwhelming." 

But diametrically opposed to these demands is the fact that our brains hate to change. Learning new things is just hard, meaning that old ideas and ways of doing things often survive long past the time when they make any sense or add much value. The result? In the blink of an eye, an organization can find itself drastically behind. 

The times they are a-changin’. What to do?

New ways of working involving new policies and procedures. Here are five steps to help start your company's change process and keep it going:

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Are You At Risk Of Being Slammed By Disruptions?

On May 8, 2017 1:19:54 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Emerging Trends, Change Management, Managing change

I recently published an article on huffingtonpost.com which I thought you would find valuable for your business, particularly if you're a mid-market company worried about fast-approaching future trends and whether you're ready for the disruptions they will cause. I reproduce it here:

Why Are So Many CEOs Afraid Of The Future?

We might agree with Thomas Friedman as he writes in his book “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

But I have been listening to, watching and working with CEOs in middle market companies that are, quite honestly, just afraid of the fast pace of change confronting them and their businesses. What I see are CEO’s literally afraid of the future. They seem unclear about what is going to “disrupt” them. All too often, they don’t even know whom to trust.

I thought I would share what I am seeing. Perhaps some of the ideas might offer lessons to learn. Careful you aren’t the proverbial “deer in the headlights” frozen by what is coming.

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You Have a New Strategy! How Can You Make it Happen? Part 1

On Apr 8, 2017 10:58:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Change Management, Corporate Anthropology, Corporate Culture


Previously, we wrote about our work with CEOs at ITESM in Mexico. These were 50 very smart, successful business leaders who brought us in to help them find new markets and change their corporate cultures. The real challenge, they told us, was how to change their organizations. There are a number of ways to create a more innovative culture, embed change processes into those old, established ones, and provide more skill-development and confidence so your employees can embrace change. I thought I would share with you some of the things we discussed so you can build your own tool kit for taking the new and making it happen.

Today, in this Part 1 of the discussion, I want to talk about one approach that you might takenamely, to bring in the consultants and let them help you design, develop and implement the new "you." Being management consultants, we often are brought in to do just thatbecome the chief strategists for an organization and help them go through the changes. Yet, we know that it is hard to build a new organization from the outside-in. It doesn't always work well and I want to start this blog with an illustrative case to show you some of the pitfalls that you must anticipate if you are going to use consultants wisely.

This particular client situation was one where those "other" consultants did not achieve the desired results. As a case study, it serves to illustrate how to re-think the best use of outside resources. Use consultants. Let them help your organization develop and implement a change in direction. But make sure those consultants understand how to Engage, Educate and Manage Expectationsthe key to the toolkitamong your own team. 

You may want to get to the toolkit right away so you can start to try this aproach  to take that new strategy and make it happen. Take a look at this webinar before you read furtheror read on!


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